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  1. Why do you think the idea of teaching in Tanzania first appealed to Cutler? How do her motives for teaching in Tanzania change during the course of the book?
  2. In the Morogoro market, a young Tanzanian boy offers Juliet an orange, and later in the book, Cutler gives oranges to Arusha’s street kids. Thus, the orange becomes a literary metaphor for giving and receiving. What does Cutler give and what does she receive during her time in Tanzania?
  3. Throughout her time in Tanzania, Cutler faces many ethical dilemmas. What are some of these dilemmas? How would you have handled these dilemmas if you had been in Cutler’s shoes?
  4. The first president of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere said, “ . . . the choice is not between change or no change, the choice for Africa is between changing or being changed.” How does Neng’ida experience and come to understand the cultural changes that the Maasai face?
  5. In Chapter 24, Cutler says, “I found myself frequently wondering how well-intentioned people in the West, like me and other short-term volunteers, could best help the Maasai, or Tanzanians in general.” What do you think are the best approaches to poverty alleviation?
  6. One recurring theme in the book is cultural difference. What do you think are the most significant cultural differences identified in the book? Which ones surprised you the most? What do you think Cutler learned about cultural difference?

Maasai Voices

Kakenya Ntaiya

Founder of Kakenya’s Dream

Martha Ntoipo

Maasai activist and former Conservation International fellow

Dr. Damaris Seleina Parsitau

Founder of Let Maasai Girls Learn and Echidna Global Scholar, Brookings Institution


Parsitau, Damaris S. Engaging the custodians of tradition and culture: Leveraging the role of multiple actors in Maasai girls’ education, Washington, D.C: Brookings Institution, 2017.

Other articles by Dr. Parsitau

Naserian Mzee

Speaker at TEDxMajengo and actor in the student-made short film Black Head Cow about forced marriage in Maasai communities

Other Resources


Empowering people in Tanzania and Madagascar through education, including providing scholarships to Maasai girls


Tackling poverty and inequality by supporting marginalized girls to go to school and succeed, and empowering young women to step up as leaders of change


Fostering teacher and community development in Tanzania with a focus on child protection and safety, community health, women’s empowerment, and HIV/AIDS prevention


Working together with global partners to provide access to quality education for people at the margins–especially women and girls, including Maasai girls in Tanzania


Working alongside women and girls to improve basic education, prevent the spread of disease, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity, and protect natural resources


Providing a place where Tanzania’s homeless children can find safety, counseling, food, medical care, and education


Training impact entrepreneurs to partner with visionary leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa to lift communities out of poverty


Working to alleviate poverty by equipping churches to empower the poor


Empowering adolescent girls around the world through education, allowing them to achieve their full potential and transform their families, communities, and countries


Supporting developing countries to ensure that every child receives a quality basic education, prioritizing the poorest, most vulnerable and those living in countries affected by fragility and conflict


Building a better world for people and our planet by 2030 through 17 sustainable development goals, including a focus on quality, equitable education


Promoting girls’ education and gender equality through policy advocacy and support to governments and other development actors


Promoting girls’ and women’s education in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve gender equity and equality


Providing research and data on the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, specifically related to education and literacy